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Democrats Engage In Shenanigans To Influence Republican Primary

DENVER (CBS4) - Some Republicans are crying foul over ads aimed at influencing the outcome of two key races. The ads are paid for by Democrats and are part of a ruse to get Republicans to nominate candidates who have more extreme positions, and that Democrats see as easier to beat in November.

A PAC called Democratic Colorado is paying for one of the ads. According to the Colorado Sun, it has spent $1.3 million to keep the ad in heavy rotation and keep U.S. Senate candidate Ron Hanks from winning. At least, that's what a spokesperson for the PAC says.

Former Republican Gov. Bill Owens says don't believe it.

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"They're doing the opposite. The Democrats are spending millions of dollars in my Republican party's primary to nominate weak candidates."

It's not only happening in the Senate race, he says. Democrats paid for a similar ad about Greg Lopez in the Republican primary for governor. His opponent, Heidi Ganahl, and Hanks' opponent, Joe O'Dea, have less extreme positions, Owens says, which makes them more of threat to Democrats in November.

"The Democrats know who they can beat and that's who they are trying to help. They did this before and they're doing it again."

The last time Republicans were played was 2010. Democrats sunk millions of dollars in the Republican primary for governor to help Dan Maes. He went on to capture just 11% of the vote in the general election and Democrats won the governor's seat.

"The issue in this election is really going to be, 'Are we willing to elect candidates who are good conservatives who have a real chance to win the general election or are we going to hold candidates to such a purity standard that, while we're going to feel good nominating them in June, we're going to feel awful about the results in November?'" said Owens.

In the Senate race, he says, it's not just one seat at stake.

"I believe if we elect a Republican U.S. Senator from Colorado then, in fact, we will control the U.S. Senate. That's how important this race is and that's why we can't make a mistake in this June primary. We have to nominate a candidate who has a chance to win in November, not one who is just sending a message. That message is going to be defeat."

Ganahl released a statement also urging voters not to be "fooled."

She says, "Democrats are spending $1.5 million supporting my opponent. They know they can beat him."

Lopez says the advertising is used in every political race. He says, "Our campaign will continue to stay on our mission to listen to the people of Colorado so that I can be their voice as governor."

In the Senate race, Democrats not only bought an ad to help Hanks, O'dea's campaign, says they also paid for flyers with lies about O'Dea. Campaign Manager Zack Roday says the flyers violate campaign finance rules because they don't list the name of the group that's behind them.

Roday says, "We're planning a massive air, land, and sea legal strategy to hold these people accountable. If they thought they could illegally hide their Democratic donors and lie about a good man without personal ramifications, they don't know Joe O'Dea. Joe O'Dea is a fighter."

RELATED: Colorado Primary Set For June 

The primary election is June 28. Ballots were mailed last week.

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